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Bid started at $1,405,000, ended at $2,589,000, with seven no-bid amendments approved by Leon, Altamirano, Baca Del Rio and Aguilar from 2012-2014.
By Brian Hews
A Hews Media Group-Community News investigation has found that RBF Consulting, a division of Michael Baker International, has gone over budget on the Washington Blvd. project by over $1.1 million and that the “amendments” to increase RBF’s budget were approved by Mayor Lilia Leon, Mayor pro tem Tina Baca Del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, and Joe Aguilar.
All tolled, there were seven amendments to the project, some of the largest added $437,000 in June 2013 while another added $364,000 in July 2014.
Some observers HMG-CN contacted questioned the amendments and called them basically “no-bid additions.”
In contracts with cities, organizations typically place a 10-20% budget overrun in the cost of the contract, but, as the observer put it, “80% is highly unusual.”
“You have got to question whether RBF would have been the lowest bidder to the project given these huge cost overruns.”
The original bid from RBF in June 2012 totaled $1,405,206.
In January 2013, RBF added $107,000, an eight percent increase.
Then in June 2013, RBF added a staggering $437,000 to the project, a 31 percent increase, consisting of 24 new items, including “additional outreach”, 15 “additional meetings” for $26,000, and “added management and administrative personnel,” totaling $18,000.
The 24 new items were labeled on the invoice as “Council City approved amendments 1, 2, and 3.”
In August and September 2013 RBF added $93,000, which consisted of 7 new additions to the contract, labeled as “Council City approved amendments 4 and 5.”
The invoice was labeled differently under amendments this time, adding that amendment 3 was approved by Council 7/16/13, amendment 4, 9/3/15, and amendment 5, 9/13/15.
In February 2014, RBF added $108,000, which consisted of 21 new additions. Some of the additions included $50,000 for “additional meetings,” and $32,000 for “additional administrative personnel.”
Curiously, the label identifying these increases stated, “denotes Council Approved 4/15/14 PSA#5.”
The increases were added to the February invoice, two months prior to approval.
Then in July 2014, the last amendment added a massive $364,000 to the contract, an additional 15 new items.
They included $8,700 for a “council presentation,” and very innocuous “amended cost estimates” for $19,000, and “additional items” for $19,000.
Once again, another $31,000 was added for “additional personnel,” and $26,000 for “additional meetings.”
All tolled, there were seven amendments approved by Council including $110,000 for “additional meetings” and $81,000 for “additional administrative personnel.”
Calls into RBF’s Gary L. Miller, who signed every invoice as Vice President, went unreturned.
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